October 14, 2012 11:50am
Georgina Spelvin Cameo
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland
Miss Jones in a "Devil" of a Show, By Rich Moreland, October 2012 - Georgina Spelvin said, "He was the sweetest, most wonderful man, a real pussycat who wanted to make movies."
I’m sitting in Victor’s, a popular Hollywood eatery, listening to a living legend. At seventy-six and slight of build, Georgina Spelvin is the mistress of our table. Her mark on pornography’s golden age is "The Devil in Miss Jones," the tale of a suicidal spinster named Justine Jones who lands in Hell and is offered a chance to figuratively and literally live again. The film thrust this once Broadway hoofer onto a public quite ready to embrace filmed pornography. Its impact is the launching point of our mid-day conversation.
The film's director was the late Gerard Damiano, an artist who enjoyed making film, Georgina tells us. Daminao’s talent also showcased "Deep Throat," the other production that was double billed with "Devil." Today at Victor’s, Miss Jones will meet a modern interpretation of the dust-up surrounding that legendary film.
David Bertolino, the off-Broadway producer of "The Deep Throat Sex Scandal" which opens in L.A.'s Zephyr Theater in mid-January, 2013, wants to know if his show’s depiction of Gerard Damiano is accurate. Georgina, whose performance as Justine set the standard for filmed pornography as art, affirms his interpretation of the director.
But today’s luncheon is more than a historical check-up. The conversation is building to a moment that will enhance the authenticity of David’s play. He wants Georgina Spelvin. If she agrees, Miss Jones will once again be in a "devil" of a show the instant her cameo lights up the theater.
Ever the persuader, David explains that he has a cast of ten, with two members rotating weekly. Temporary actors will play the judge in the Memphis trial and the theater ticket taker where the drama begins. Some of the best will appear from mainstream film and the adult business. Hollywood will contribute Adam Glaser, Bruce Villanch, and Christopher Knight, to name a few. Adult film will see the likes of Hershel Savage, Paul Thomas, Ron Jeremy, Bill Margold, and Nina Hartley, with Veronica Hart in a permanent role. To land Georgina Spelvin is a coup.
At the table is Georgina’s husband, retired actor John Welsh, and photographer Bill Knight. I’m next to Georgina and across from David, the best seat in this house!
Georgina relates how she ended up in Memphis.
She was doing a summer stock production of "Anything Goes" in Brunswick, Maine. On the day of the show’s final rehearsal, the casting director suddenly approached her and said, "Don't go to your dressing room." Sensing trouble, the play’s comic urged her to "go back in the wings and say you’re not dressed." What was going on? Two "suits" had walked into the theater, Georgina explained, "one tall, one short," armed with an arrest warrant fully listing all her stage names. The Feds wanted their woman, aliases and all!
Theater owner/producer, Vicky Crandall, informed the g-men their mission had hit a snag. Ms. Spelvin could not accompany them, she said, her presence was required for that evening’s opening night. The "suits" backed off and settled for a promised appearance at the Judge’s office the next morning.
In the meanwhile, the producer suggested Georgina call an old friend (a local big wig judge) and "get this straightened out."
The next morning the judge ruled that Georgina be released to Ms. Crandall’s custody for the duration of the theater’s season. But Memphis was still on the table.
Georgina later described how a civil liberties attorney in Maine helped her find a Tennessee lawyer. She traveled to the Bible Belt in a converted school bus, the "Dorabelladonna." an amusing account of this journey appears in her autobiography, the Devil Made Me Do it.
The Memphis lawyer let her park her bus in his drive way and accompanied her to the station where she was politely fingerprinted and posed for mug shots. She signed fifteen Polaroids for the assembled officers.
Even in their most devilish moments, show biz people always create a buzz.
At the trial, Georgina was on and off the stand in a flash. She gave her name, Georgina said, was asked about how much she got paid for "Devil," and "where the film was shot," all very quick. A free bird at last, she departed Memphis and headed to California via New Orleans.
Forty-six years later, Georgina Spelvin is an honoree in the pantheon of porn. David promises to treat her like royalty, not unusual for him actually, if she would walk across his stage. Georgina turns to John and asks if he’d take time to drive her to the theater. It is the sweetest moment of our gathering. John gallantly accedes to her request and everyone heads triumphantly out. Coincidentally, David just happens to have a script in his vehicle to give to her!
Later I sent Georgina an email thanking her for her time. Meeting a legend is rare, if it happens at all, I noted, and she was most memorable for me.
I can picture her and John looking at my message and smiling together.
"Blush" was her typed reply, a singular gesture from the sweetest, most wonderful woman who altered American cultural by making a movie.